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tv   First Lady Lou Hoover  CSPAN  October 19, 2013 7:00pm-8:31pm EDT

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>> lou and herbert hoover came to the white house as experience world travelers who were successful and the private and public sectors. thehs and to hoover's term market crash. louver use her office to advocate -- to advocate volunteerism. -- thene term ended amid story of lou hoover. the hoover administration. what an interesting life she had. to tell us about her years as we get started is connected dunlap, te dunlap. she is working on a biography on lou hoover. what interest you looking at this woman? lukegot interested after talking to a friend of mine in
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canton ohio and i started looking, it was a woman whose story has not been fully told. or so many layers to her and different at remedies that she has been involved. and the legacy that will like to see the rest of the people. iowa.s born in her father really wanted a boy. lou and he did pretty much raise her as well to call it, boy. one of the early pictures of her was her fishing with her father. but the pitcher we are going to show of her carrying a rifle on top of a borough. a lot of her diary talks about the joy of being able to hunt and fish and be outdoors. how does that translate into her grown-up life.
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outdoors ande decision to study was an outgrowth of that. , we have material when she went on camping trips. she rode horseback. she slept on the ground while her other camp mates slept in tents. >> from a policy perspective, she spent her years encouraging other young women to incorporate the outdoors and physical activity into their lives. it was not just for her. when other women were not doing this. i started to be interested in women being more physically active. the nextwhat we called step. two areas where she got involved. the first was the girl scouts. that was an opportunity for her
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to promote a lot of outdoor activity what we would call outdoor craft such as hiking and learning to build a camp fire and cooked outdoors and join the outdoors. the other part was when the national amateur athletic. not just something that women did. andope you can follow along what makes is really interesting is your questions. did he do that in many ways and and you canmbers also tweak us. we were this many tweets as we can. -- we will work as many tweets as we can. there's already a conversation going on. we are working in some of those comments. please join us. much to learn about this interesting woman.
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how did she get from iowa to california? california was so important. her father was in banking. course, this was before yet the federal reserve. banks do not necessarily succeed. a went up and down with economy. lookinger charles was for other opportunities and he was given the opportunity to start a bank and whittier california which at the tame was 1887.rly they were building a brand-new community and have been founded by the quakers. they were open to any fair- minded people of any religion. >> here's the connection. whittier, california being established. many years later
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>> her father had -- had wanted a boy. it -- as a we named result of that, she becomes the tomboy of the era. they go camping. they are up in the mountains a lot. she is learning about the mountains and loving it. this is a rifle that was owned by him. -- an this photograph early photograph of her on top of this new will, looking pretty rough and tough. le,on top of this mui
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looking pretty rough and tough. annie any oakley -- oakley. one of her favorite essays was "independent girl." -- there is ar clash of arms ending in mortal combat. that person in herbert hoover. this is the diary from 1891 to 1892. when she is at college. life. talking about her with the thing she is talking about a lot is her botany classes. she really likes to be an outdoors. -- in the outdoors.
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ms. palmer and i were a good match for climbing. we found lots of flowers, blueprints, primroses, etc.. it was a lot of fun to be outside in the world. part of that class, they are also drawing sketches of flowers. things like that. this is lou's sketchbook. flowers, different kinds of things. they have the last name as well. this must have been something she was learning from her classes. she does not write about herself necessarily, itchy writes about the experiences of her life. she is a highly educated woman. a -- boths created her mom and dad created a loose, open, if you want to learn something, we will encourage you to do that. she was able to do that and explore that as far she could.
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>> we were commenting as we were aboutng the photographs how full of life -- it comes through in these still photographs all these years later. she seems to be smiling. geology atn to study one of america's first ladies earned a degree in geology from stanford. how unusual was that for a woman in the u.s. in the late 1890s to study geology? >> it was very unusual. we are not sure she was the first woman in the country to get a agree in geology. recently that the male students went on field trips and she was not allowed to go because she was a woman. love the outdoors and love to go on trips in normal
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school -- i know how upset she was. >> she graduated with a degree. it was unheard of women with a degree -- where the jobs available? >> she sends -- sent letters to -- here i am, i have , and she cannot find a job in her field. but she did meet herbert hoover, a fellow geologist. the way that relationship developed is herbert was a senior at the time. interestingly enough, lewis six months older -- lou is six months older. assistant.b
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theprofessor has delivered lecture in geology, which encouraged him to apply and study their. he took an instant liking to her . he talks about her whimsical smile and laughing blue eyes. what an intelligent and delightful young woman she was. i believe that she needs some assistance. also -- he was also an island? >> yes. they were quakers. there were connections that brought them together. but what happened after he took a job? letters,were lots of but obviously there was a strong connection and interest. nevada, andk into then to austria. he was -- and then to australia.
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he was offered a position in china. he center a telegram. enrt her a telegram. him ind her to join china. the postmaster posted it on the bulletin board for everyone to see. her nickname for him was irked. -- bert. we have a robust website for this series. it is that /firstladies. her ba degreesee from stanford. it introduced her to a life- changing partner. she said yes to china. when did they go and what was it
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like? >> they went the day after they got married. married february 10, 1899. they headed off to china the next day. they spent a couple days in japan, and then they were there when the boxer rebellion occurred. she asks, did their stay in china influence their political ideas? >> there stays in a lot of places influence their views. one thing they were interested in was ways to keep our freedom. they saw what it was like when freedom had been taken from people. >> what influence their joint what was it about them and their development that led them to view the world in that way? >> i don't know they necessarily had that view when they first started out, but over time,
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because they were in china during the boxer rebellion, they were in europe during the warreak of the first world -- they had lived in countries where people's freedoms had been curtailed. taught about freedom in america, and then seeing other people not having those freedoms -- they saw that was subbing that was very important. and also that approach enabled the cougars to acquire quite a bit of wealth and be very successful in their children field. >> multimillionaires when they got to the white house. >> absolutely. >> the boxer rebellion was a protest against foreign influence in china. with their life threatened? >> yes it was. they were under siege. there was american aid. -- a barricade. lou man the barricade.
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-- manned the barricade. she was sitting in her house when a bullet came through the front door. she pulled out a deck of cards and paid -- played solitaire. she didn't let it faze her. said, you have missed the most exciting summer. >> we have a graphic i want to put on the screen. breadth of the places -- stanford, and then china, and then london. up toput them in the lead world war i. in the duke a job for the commission to relieve belgium. relief administration after world war i.
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and then secretary of commerce under harding. question, i read she was a globetrotter. what other countries did she go to? >> they were in countries in southeast asia, such as burma and cambodia. and also australia. africa. countries in the middle east. and they were also in russia. time,y also, during this published together. >> they published a couple of aeces on geology -- one was biography of the man who created the seismograph to measure the security -- severity of earthquakes. centurynslated a 16th
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on mining. it was written in latin. lou had studied latin, but they also used the traditional translator. -- professional translator. herbert was a member of that association, but lou was not. but she was the one who gave the remarks and accepting -- in accepting the metal. -- medal. >> david is from chicago. add about her relationship with the white house staff. hoover't pretrade mrs. -- portray her as a nice person. apparently she and the president did not speak to the white house staff unless they wanted them to disappear. curtains hiding behind
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and jumping into closets. they did not speak to the staff. i have read in other places that mrs. hoover would commit a cake using hand signals, which drove the staff crazy. communicate using hand signals, which drove the staff crazy. she was a compassionate woman but not very nice to the staff. >> let's check that out and how that squared away with her public image. >> the caller raises some good questions. there is a lot of material that supports what he mentioned. one of the things we have to look at, as historians, is when did that material come out? one of the challenges with reading anything about the hoover's, particularly anything while the roosevelts were in office -- there was enormous and
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tight hoover sentiment that people had opportunities to capitalize on an anti-hoover message. is whatthe information we have to look at more carefully. they did pay several staff members out of their own funds. they made sure all the staff made -- ate three meals a day and were able to keep their jobs. it is a mixed message about what was going on with the white house. and needs to be looked at more closely. , what were her opinions of the women suffrage haveent? >> we don't evidence of her being actively involved. but she said something when she was 15 years old talking about she didn't think it was right that women should be classified in the same category as jill birds and convicts. and convicts.
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in other words, being denied the right to vote. favor ofery much in saying women get the right to vote. but she was on active suffragette. -- not an active suffragette. believe in equality between men and women? >> absolutely. >> here are some of the artifacts they brought back. >> among the different things that lou collected through her life were the chinese porcelains, blue-and-white. they tended to focus on the main -- ming. . they collected their first blue and white when they were living in china. the developed what was probably the best collection in the u.s.
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of chinese porcelains. lou having learned to speak chinese while living in china -- she would literally research each of the artists, each of the pieces where they were made. they were continually trading these. they had as many as 400 at one time. sets. to get matched in inllected pewter london. there were some pieces of british peter. -- pewter. -- collecting doesn't seem to go beyond 1920. we have 50 or 60 in our collection. the most unique thing she collected was, throughout all travels, sheles -- started collecting weapons.
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boomerangs --uple they spent some time in australia. we are pretty sure this is an indonesian peace. it might've been just decorative, but it might've been a weapon. none of it seems to be particularly sharp. i think you would do a lot of damage to somebody. there are various other -- a bayonet. a dagger. with a wooden handle. swords seem to be one of her favorite things to collect. we have a number of them here. righties of nationalities and shapes. nationalitiesf and shapes. >> welcome. ,e learned that herbert hoover through a variety of
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appointments, arrived in the harding and coolidge cabinets. then he was the republican choice for president in 1928. set the scene what the country was like when that election took place. >> the american economy had been growing in leaps and bounds of the 1920's. he had been a dominant secretary of commerce. to hoover rise has come into the language. se -- hooverize has come into the language. he is able to get the nomination in 1928. partially from his reputation in world war i and as secretary of commerce. and also the incredible relief effort that he managed in 1927. this is a time. , as we have talked about, when
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the mass media is beginning to come into play. how did that affect his popularity? >> he got a lot of coverage. there were newsreels. he had films made of him, his biographical film. it was called, " master of emergencies. " the media was very important in terms of getting his image and to the public. wins with a popular vote. the democrats nominated all , the firstl smith catholic to be nominated. he is a beneficiary of the divide that happens on the
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democratic side. smith is a post from an -- from within. because of concerns about his position on prohibition and the likes. hoover escaped an internal battle. came in with an overwhelmingly republican congress. large majorities. one would think you would have a lot of support. >> one would think. was she in the campaign? >> she was very visible. part of the press that was out at the time in conjunction with all smith being the democratic nominee. there were the case comparisons -- these comparisons with katie smith, all smith's wives -- al
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smith's wife. she had already gained national prominence on her own. >> michael, you are on. >> i just wanted to, and. she seemedo comment. very unorthodox for the. period. i think she was eclipsed by eleanor roosevelt and jackie kennedy. so she has kind of been forgotten. i wonder if any of you know how she was perceived at the time of her reign as first lady by the press and the public. -- >>so the oppression also the depression. same expectations
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and enthusiasm that had greeted her first coming into office. lou had been involved with girl scouts. she had been involved with the athletic amateur foundation, the women's division. chaired asted or conference on women in law enforcement. she was very, very well known. one of the things that she did early on -- she was unorthodox and other ways. a socialited secretary, but those two did not get along. the social secretary wanted lou to learn how to do things the washington way. that wasn't exactly how she wanted to do things. those two parted company after one year. she did not hire another social secretary.
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she introduced a lot of changes. she was very unorthodox syria -- unorthodox. -- do you know what their inauguration was like? >> some have opted not to have an inaugural ball. they.was pouring rain out -- that day. the vice president attended the ball. it was not what we would now think of as an inaugural ball. >> jordi nuss -- jordan is watching us in pennsylvania. trucks i am a big fan of this series. isbert hoover -- my question
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, what is her favorite activity in the white house? >> i'm not sure there is just one. . i will have to pick to. one would be taking care of the gardens again. totally loving up the at doors. she was interested in chronicling the furniture. >> how long were they in office before the stock market crashed >> eight months. warnings? >> there had been a stock market bubble. bit ofad been a little financial volatility that had been sorted out by some major bankers in new york. getting together and making sure
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that the stock market was back on track. economic depression agriculture that had been going on since world war i. some bad definitely economic signals in the air. but nobody expected what happened on october 24. this talk market tumbled -- the stock market tumbled. he makes a statement that the base of the economy is down and -- is sound. but then it crashes. >> before we get into the white house during the depression and her role in addressing it, there is a story we don't want to leave on the table. a controversial appointment.
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>> it was very common for the -- to have tees. in the previous administration, it was usually one tea. the same year he was elected, 1928, chicago elected an african-american congressmen. he was the first to get elected in 28 years. the issue arose about what to do about inviting his wife to one of the tees. -- teas. should -- lou instructs her secretaries to have communication about how to handle this. -- of the instructions decision she made was to break teas, where -- six
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each group of wives is selected as a group. wives who they thought might not be offended would be vetted during one of these tees and their base -- racial views sounded out. he invites the president of the teske institute to join him for an meeting. that raises no eyebrows or hadtions, even though there not been an african-american who met with the president since booker t. washington. tea,e day after the sixth she sends a private invitation privatedepriest for a
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key. the congressmen publicizes this, gets attention. every thing seems to be ok. that a weak leader, the representative hosts a music all tea as ale nt -- and fundraiser. the southern legislatures realizing -- realize this is getting out of hand. the entire summer, you have andats -- several stutter -- a threat to center mrs. hoover and the congress. it becomes a brouhaha throughout the summer. for -- precarious one
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time for african-americans. how does this affect their future over the next few years is to mark -- few years? >> it was a difficult situation because the republican party is the party of abraham lincoln. the party that african-americans vote for. intort hoover had broken what harding had made a slight inroads into. was alone the one hand -- trying to balance the expectation that we are the party of lincoln, we have a heritage of civil rights, with seeing potentially there is inroads we can make into the south. which is solidly democratic territory. lou have tod
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negotiate the fact of this brouhaha because it has substantial political effects. hoover did not have a solid base in congress at this time. there are what are known as lily white republican organizations in the south that are trying to become competitive in the south by essentially changing traditional racial mores. they are not happy. -- that lou and herbert hoover do. on the other hand, they don't build or maintain momentum. >> republicans in congress, when he needed them after the depression hits -- does it have ramifications?
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>> it was part of a larger picture of the faculties that hoover had with the congress. he has a unified congress in 1928. in 1930, the democrats win back the house. the problem is that herbert hoover is not a politician. he has risen to the heights of secretary of commerce, and then president, without ever having held elective office. so far the only presidents who had gone straight to the top had been generals. he doesn't have the background in dealmaking and dealing with politicians -- he is actually quite superior towards politicians. that heto one senator is the only person with a negative iq. he doesn't have to get along with politicians.
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past couples, the wife ended up being a better politician than the husband. is this the case here is to mark >> no, i am sorry to say, it was not not. the same two sides of coin. louise and be at -- lou is the same way. she started an organization or rose to the top over no relation. of an organization. she was in leadership and negotiating with not a skill she had to develop. she was a little bit better able to smooth over troubled waters. bert bytry to help inviting people to dinner where they could have an exchange of ideas and perhaps get him to talk about some of the issues that were going on here it -- going on.
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but a lot of times she was doing the same things he was. she was no longer getting engaged in the social side of washington -- that was an area that was shut down as well. town --n in ruth's ohio.outhstown, any am curious about experience he had with the radio broadcaster. >> the radio broadcaster who was using the airwaves -- >> the radio priest. i believe he has the idea to take his sermons under the error. -- onto the error. -- air.
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it is a political message of sharing the wealth in some ways. regulating businesses. he is considered to be both and also a right-wing figure. in terms of the relationship hoover, hisr -- movement built up steam in the .id-30s so is not a factor at the time of hoover's and administration. cracks are there any parallels with the tea party movement and using the internet to advance this man,tion, with who was using the radio? >> absolutely. this is a new era. radio is showing it has wonderful potential. and also the potential to give
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who whoe to people became demagogues. but these are movements that get moved -- going in the 1930's. after franklin don't arose about selection. -- fdr's election. whether he is behind of it or not, therend it or are a lot of people between that have their own movements and are using the radio to promote them. cracks here is a top line glance of how the country changes during the years of the great depression. the the booming economy in by 1933, on the 25% of
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the country unemployed. the dow jones had hit the bottom at 41. hoover's,e particularly lou hoover, use the white house to address these problems? eating people to pitch in and help. particularly people who were not impacted by the depression. she used the youth organization she was involved in. girl scouts. she encouraged girl scouts and get in of four h -- to there and to share. to provide for their neighbors. to see where there were needs and get involved.
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cracks we have a cup of lou hoover encouraging four h. cracks , there are more people in usual in need of special care. evil in need of your care. -- more in need of your care. a special achievement awaiting you. club, you will decide on the problem you will attack. you will lay out a plan. then you go to work to carry out that plan. >> how far could volunteerism go to address the scope of the problem? >> is easy to si question now. -- to ask that question now. thatave to remove her nobody expected the great
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depression to be as severe as it was cancel -- it was. they were involved in the relief of belgium during world war i. they asked people to have meatless fridays and weakness mondays. wheatless mondays. but they were limited by the economy and how serious the problem was. >> he is watching in fort smith. >> thank you. i enjoy the show, but i have a question about the relationship between eleanor roosevelt and lou hoover. and what does and ilya ehrhardt have to do with the movers? box are there a connection between the women? >> and there was no connection at this point in time.
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it was not very cordial and warm. there was discussion about not even having a traditional night before the nitration enter with the roosevelts -- the inauguration dinner with the roosevelts. however, the first lady lady is always the honorary president of the girl scouts. the industry to physician of president of the girl scouts in the mid-30s. and that with mrs. roosevelt. the meeting was described as cordial. as far as the malia ehrhardt, they were interested in flying. ehrhardt, they were interested in flying. was promotingover
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volunteerism, he did put issues in front of congress. such is the hoover dam and other public works projects. increase in both personal and corporate income taxes. they don't sound very republican from this perspective. where were they not effective in addressing what was happening? why were they not effective in addressing what was happening? wax people did not grasp at the beginning just how huge and how long this would last. they did try to do several things. he tried to do it in a couple of -- try to coordinate
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information about unemployment. and also try to court relief efforts. he is trying to use the way the federal government works in a noncoercive way. but trying to encourage follow terry organizations to know how they can get involved. >> hi, thank you for taking my call. this has been a great series. i visited the hoover museum and library. i wondered what her fascination was with embroidered flowers ask. -- flower sacks. -- the >> the sacks were embroidered by the women of belgium. they were a way to help them
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raise money after world war i to purchase food. >> a call from john in california. >> thank's for the call. -- thanks for taking the call. iowa.her's family is from my mother was nicknamed after lou. apparently the family knew them in iowa, in waterloo. the mother's family was involved in the creation of the republican iowa party. so they could vote for we can. -- fort lincoln. n. for lincolb also took ar's personal approach. how would they respond with the letters and other pleas for help? torques and mark -- for
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help? >> first ladies were always getting questions -- requests for help. to put in a good word when sheresident -- started getting letters, she had to determine how many of these were more of the traditional letters that a first lady receives and how many of these might be legitimate. she had this network of women friends across the country. if she got a letter that she thought might have legitimacy, she would pass it onto the friend that might be in the area where the friend was written. and asked if it was legitimate. whether this person would benefit from some assistance. if she got the word back from her friends that yes, this is somebody who of small amount of assistance would help, lou would
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anonymously, usually through the friend or through somebody else in that community, anonymously send money to help that person. whoever wasso ask being the transmitter of the funds to keep an eye out on the recipient, and keep her posted on what was going on. deepened,depression --y saw the community of creation of communities called hooverville. there was also the 1932 march of the best bonus march. bonus march. 1932, you have almost over 20% unemployment. everybody knows someone who has left their job. who has -- is facing economic
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hardship. there started to be increasing protests. the bonus march being the most prominent of them. these are veterans from world war i who in 1924 had been bonus asa march -- a additional payment for their service. that would mature in 1945. that is when they would get this bonus. it was vetoed later. what the marches were saying was, we are suffering now. we can't wait until 1945. they wanted a full payment of their bonus early. passedgress had actually a certain amount of -- they could load a certain amount from the bonus. they had passed that over hoover's veto. -- they areo was
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trying to push congress to pass the full bonus. which the house does what the senate does not. we have 10,000 people, more than that, camped out in washington. there have effectively failed in their mission. what to do with them? move where he asks the army to help move, disperse, the bonus marchers. this turns into an incredibly graphic sort of violet episode. -- violent episode. douglas macarthur uses violent means to move them on the way.
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>> you can see the capital right behind it. >> this doesn't look good for him. it doesn't look like he is concerned. s> the stress on the hoover had to be enormous. one of the things they did was establish a retreat outside washington in the shenandoah mountains. talk about how they endured as people and couple during the depression. the first time that the byver's came to the camp was horseback. there were no roads. they came in on a horse trail. came up to the headwaters of the river. worse -- there was some land for sale at five dollars an acre.
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for less than $1000, they purchased 164 beautiful acres. she was instrumental in the design of the camp. it shows her love of nature and simplicity. what she enjoyed about being outdoors. it is all rap -- wrapped up into buildings. two buildings. they were trying to crater retreat where they can relax and get back to nature. she was to be outside as much as possible. she designed it with the windows -- so the windows would open and she could smell the outdoor spells coming right into her room. and be inside but at the same time have the feeling of being outside. the sun porch was her office. it is a beautiful room with windows surrounding it. the like can be natural all day
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long. there aren't any lights in there at all. it is all-natural; and. comingnatural sunlight in. much of what we know about the camp comes from the letters she wrote. they had this fireplace built so they could enjoy campfires all day long. many of the guests would sit out here. a lot of the pictures we have are of the hoover's and guests sitting on the porch. to spell the smoke of the campfire. she wants to have that spelling cap all day long. she wanted her garden to be different than what she had at the white house. she wanted them to be very informal. she was quoted as saying she wanted them to be a little bit wild-ish. beds, she want formal wanted everything out there
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randomly. she wanted her paths to be moved -- lined with rocks so you could find your way, but nothing outstanding. she wanted to blend in. the rock structure behind me is lose fountain. 's fountain. this is the rock garden she called her rocker he. -- rockery, . >> how did the hoover's use this? it helped in terms of the the difficultuy he was having in terms of getting anything through congress. they look for a way to get out of washington on a regular basis. they located the property in the shenandoah mountains.
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house andsigned the laid it out. they went there is fruitfully as they could. -- as frequently as they could. sometimes they went with friends and people from government. there is one report that $100,000 was spent on lane phone lines. which is a considerable sum of money. >> was there can a -- a public perception of them going to camp while people were in hooverville's? >> they weren't particularly conscious of that. they discovered that the children in the region had never been to school. hoover -- what's what's up next -- let's watch that next. >> let's take a call him and
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then we will have it available. show.ove your -- hoover hadg if said he did not accept his salary. saying each time that they were the only president. i was wondering if you donated some of the money to charity. about president kennedy, that he did not accept his-- a salary and any of avec service positions. he had a separate account. he had worked for free for the relief of belgium. once he went into government, he was not allowed to say don't pay me, so he put the celery in a separate account that he distributed to charity.
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thean you discuss how hoover's entertainment during the depression? >> there was a budget that was set aside to do in attaining. but they did -- inter-training on their own. own.tertaining on their they paid for their own secretary. was lou well-known by the public question mark >> no. >> why? because pr was not their strong suit. -- lou was going to run her own shop. there was nobody to tell her what she might want to do in order to improve how the public
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perceives her. what made them so wonderful was also what set the stage for them to have so much difficulty in the public perception of who they were. >> let's show the clip of lou hoover with the children. >> now, boys and girls, you tell me the names of some of those mountains. >> old rag. --sometimes you call it behind their. -- there. that is very nice. school?is the hoover >> it was in -- established by the hoovers after they encountered local families that lived in the area. they realize the children had not attend public school. they go to school with their own
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funds and then work with the state to hire a teacher. they interview the teacher. -- interviewed the teacher. contacted the college and the appellation portion of kentucky. -- appalachian portion of kentucky. that's cool stayed in place until the park over to the area. -- the school stayed in place until the part overtook the area. quit >> the most difficult thing is she's -- what she saw it due to bert. -- do to bert. >> what was her approach to pr? did she give formal interviews formaln mark --
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interviews? >> there is a piece that talked about the fact that mrs. hoover had not met with the reporters one time. the first time we see formal meeting with reporters is in july of 1932. in campaign season. she had a luncheon, but it is important to note that women reporters were not writing for the front page, they were writing for the society page. this is being treated as a men's issues. >> we were talking earlier about radio. lou hoover use this for a series of addresses and we will listen to one of those right now and talk about how radio helped the hoovers and their approach. >> [inaudible]
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>> the message is the same. and to the girl scouts who are helping. [inaudible] >> in some way presaging the address, fireside chats. quick she is using it to try and push this message which is in keeping with what herbert hoover
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is doing at that time and it is interesting that she is doing the talks to the girl scouts movement which she in 1932 comes up with the rapidan plan, it is basically this effort to muster the resources of their girl scouts into a more coordinated and organized effort to help coordinate with local and state relief agencies and at the same time she has an individual who helps her and is working with the president himself on the organization for unemployment relief. her volunteer work -- she is urging them to work with the others as the girl scouts are doing, coordinating with the kind of things that herbert hoover is doing within the administration and so she is commenting his policies. rex on this question of how she get with the press, robin glass says, i read that she kept something so private that her
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papers were not opened until 40 years after her death because doing so would violate the privacy of people she helped financially. you spent time with her papers. is this a true story? >> it is more that she made the decision that the papers would not be opened until 40 years after she passed away. because of concerns about things that may have been written about people and her letters and correspondence. she was very much -- it is make it interesting. she made a lot of use of the radio to try to promote her causes and which were used and tried to push the volunteerism. >> thank you for taking my call. and your outstanding program. there has not been any mention of whether or not they had children. do they have children, did they die in infancy or did they live to adulthood and did they have successes question mark thank
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you. >> they had two boys, herbert junior born in 1903 and alan and tina seven. they happen to have been born in london because this is where bert was working at the time and the hoover's lived there. oath of them were extremely successful.
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one of the interesting stories about camp rapidan is that the older son was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1930 when he went for his physical for the annual time to serve in the reserve. tuberculosis at that time was a very serious disease. it was not always curable. this is of course preantibiotic. and the hoovers had him living in camp rapidan for the beginning of the convalescence until the winter set in and then
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they moved him to ashland, north carolina. during the year that herbert jr. was convalescing, lou invited her daughter-in-law and herbert's children to live in the white house. there were children running around the white house during that time. and again that wasn't necessarily successful in softening the image. they didn't want the children photographed or things written about them. >> this a period of time when the nation was transfixed with the lindbergh baby kidnapping and i wonder if that affected the sense of security for the first family and whether that increased the threat for the children. >> we talked about it before. there was increased security after the -- after the lindbergh kidnapping in order to -- to protect the white house and
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whatever children might be in there at the time. but there's also an increased concern about the fascination for us, again, herbert hoover himself especially after the protest of it was depression continues. so security is certainly a very important factor in the white house at this time. and the secret service is very much vigilant. >> nancy on twitter, how was the marriage between the hoovers affected by the great depression? >> well, they had always been very, have close partners but they were not as close in the partnership in the four years during the white house. burt pulled into himself a little bit. wasn't communicative as he had been.
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it took a toll. one of the hoovers easons was supposedly told one of his cousins many years later that he felt that the parents being in the white house for the four years was a mistake because of the stress they put on their relationship.
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>> jennifer sherman tweets to us, i'm realizing for the most part, the real role of flotus -- first lady of the united states, the essentially advisor in chief or gatekeeper. next is steven watching us in new york city, hi, steven, you're on. >> hi. i wanted to know were the hoovers the wealthiest of all of the first families -- the first couples? >> they were certainly very wealthy. do you know if they were the wealthiest. >> the things on comparison to that, you'd have to compare in constant dollars. money at that time wouldn't be money say for a kennedy portion or a bush portion. >> i believe that they believed that george washington was the wealthiest of all the things. all of the plantations and slavery. herbert hoover had about $4 million he made by 1914 in today's dollars. there they were from $17 million to $19 million. they think he might have been wealthier than his successor,
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fdr, who inherited his wealth. herbert hoover made it from scratch. he's worn off of the presidents, they were the wealthiest. >> thank you for taking my call. i always wondered why the library was in -- >> dan, i'm so sorry. i pushed the button at the wrong time. that's my fault. charles in santa fe, new mexico. if you can get back in, we'll take your questions. my apologies.
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your question from santa fe. >> thank you for taking my call. i'm really enjoying this series. i'm a native from iowa and my only exposure was a television series called "back stairs of the white house." they did not portray the hoovers very well in how they treated the servants. >> we had that question earlier in the program with some examples which i think you're going give. the caller in the beginning had seen the same series. you agreed? >> i think we have to be careful about who we're telling the stories to. there's noun be made after the
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hoovers left because of the negativity. there was noun be made telling that story about the hoovers. we have to be careful with how we interpret what we're hearing. >> the accounts exist but the voracity is something we have to look at. >> we often visit the smithsonian which you know has the first ladies' dress collection. lou hoover next. >> she was a fascinating, determined, and fashionable first lady. we have two on display. one, the flurl, an informal, lighter, something for like a garden party. the other dress, the long dress, is a reception dress. it was actually worn for a reception for the girl scouts of america, a cause very close to lou hoover's heart. not only the honorary first lady but an active member of the girl scouts.
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we'll take you up to the storage area and you can see more pieces that belong to lou hoover. >> these pieces may have been worn with the evening dress on display down the stairs. the eyeglass on the chain appears with the picture of her on the evening gown. she feels fascinating, outdoor si, and elegant. unable buy fine clothes and was the first first lady to appear in vogue. this dress draped in grecian fold was something she donated to the museum to be worn by a mannequin in the first lady's exhibit. it was worn with these shoes and represents mrs. hoover until 1987. it's one of the first ladies we have day wear. black and white silk dress in a clover pattern is a wonderful
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part of the business collection. it shows the more business side of lou hoover and the first ladies. >> that's the view of the first laities' collection at the smithsonian. we do appreciate it. what do you do to change the white house during her tenure there? >> well, one of the things that she did was on the social side, which as we already talked about, she changed how the structure -- >> the structure of itself? >> sorry about that. well, let's go that. one of the things that she did was to do refurbishing on the second floor. she did drawings of butterflies and flou earles and she did drawings of what she wants bookcases to look like on the second floor. she was involve in redoing some of the downstairs lick room, no it the green room which was a project started under grace coolidge and finished by a committee that had been appointed by congress, but she did some refurbishing in the red and the blue room as well. >> these are years of prohibition? what were the hoovers' attitude before prohibition? parties with alcohol outside of the white house? >> the prohibition hoover had in
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1928 on a law enforcement plank, he was officially in favor of prohibition. lou as we mentioned earlier had this committee in 1924 on law enforcement. but i have heard rumors that on his way home from work when he was secretary of commerce sometimes liked to stop by the belgian embassy that was on the foreign territory and had a cocktail at the end of the day. so i think personally they were tea total. herbert hoover had a quaker background which in some ways would have linked itself to a more protemperance stance they engaged in. >> how popular was prohibition in the country at this point. >> in 1928, it's still unclear where it is. this is a time before public
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opinion polling. so it's difficult for people to get a read on the nation. as we mentioned before, al smith's campaign is divisive in part because he is suggesting a -- not a repeal of prohibition, but maybe a revision of prohibition, maybe get the state on some -- some chance to go wet as it was known in those times if they wanted to. but 1932, prohibition has become incredibly unpopular.
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in large part, because of the kind of negative impact it had in terms of the rise of organized crime. so in 1932, hoover runs on a platform where he's similar to '28, like maybe he's going to be okay with certain kinds of reform at the state level. but democrats get the repeal in 1932 and that wins out. >> sue watching in colorado. hi, sue. >> thank you so much. mentioned earlier that the hoovers were multimillionaires prior to presidency. i wondered how they made their money. thank you so much. >> herbert hoover was a mining engineer. he travelled the globe doing consulting. he also invested in quite a number of -- he was paid very well for that. but he also invested in mines that were mining materials that were very, have high demand. >> as the depression worsened and the criticism of the man in the white house continued to mount, here are some quotes from the first couple to give you some sense of what their personal reactions were. lou hoover said i was incensed of the reading pof herbert hoover not having the thought for the little man. the absolute injustice and downright lying of these statements infuriated me. herbert hoover said she is oversensitive and the stabs of political life that are deserved by me hurt her grately. >> the first one i recall
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correctly was a letter i believe they had to do to frame his legacy. talking about how concerned he was about the little man and how angry about upset she was about the way she was being treated and the way he was being pretty well ripped apart in the press. burt i think is just hub who senses what's going on in his wife and a response to it. but this is also in his memoirs and sometimes in his memoirs, the memory is being just a little different from what actually happened. >> despite the criticism, his policies, and a deepening depression, herbert hoover makes a decision to run for re-election. tell us about the 1932 election
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and the outcome. he at first is going to -- going to stand for re-election. but he's not necessarily committed to running for re-election at that time. the idea of the incumbent
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president of actively seeking the re-election was considered a little unseemly and herbert hoover has immense respect for the -- for the office that he holds. so he decides that he's going to make a couple of changes but he's going to be dignified and restrained. then if it becomes clear at the fall of 1932 progresses he's in serious trouble. and i believe in september, a traditionally republican territory, a statewide election for democrats, so this is again a pretty good indication he's in trouble. so he then essentially embarks on what we would call a whistle stop tour. kris crossing the country. getting a number of addresses and radio addresses and returns home to -- to the home in palo alto to wait out the results. and it's a landslide against him. almost bigger than the one that brought him into office only four years earlier. so it's a very rapid turnaround for a man who had so many high hopes behind him when he went in. >> how did lou hoover participate in that election?
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>> just in the same way she had in '28. she was with him on all of the whistle stop tour. one of the reasons she invited the women reporters in the summer was trying to mend some of the fences she hasn't paid a lot of attention to in the last 3 1/2 years. she was continuing to do her work with the girl scouts and 4-h and with volunteerism and doing the best she can to
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support him and to try to see that he gets re-electled. >> what was their reaction? do we know the personal reaction to the outcome? >> they're disappointed. they're still here and still moving on. there's hurt at the way -- hurt at the way they've been treated they tried so hard with the relief that the responsibility is not going be there so much longer.
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>> hoovers deepened their connection here in palo alto, california. they designed a house there. learning about that next. >> we're here on the campus of stanford university. this is significant because of the primary residence of the hoovers. this is known as the family head quarters and significant as relates to lou hoover because she was the one who designed it. she worked with several architects to come up with the plan and gave her advice and she was the driving force behind the design of the house. she was impressed with the architects to help her with the formal blueprints and plans and she had such a strong grasp and she was not an architect. that was not the training and the geologist. but she had a good sense of space and design how she wanted the house to look. so it's something she was intimately involved in. a lot of original drawings and documents related to the design and construction of the lou henry hoover house back at the institute archives. looking at the documentation related to the building and design. it involved how lou henry was. here's some of the drawings we have at the design of the house. we have details about the cabinets that they're going to be installing. a little foot stool here. and some design details that were likely sketched by lou henry herself. a lot of lou henry's influence shirley came from her travels in the southwest of the united states. pueblo architecture. also from her travels in north africa when she travelled to
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herbert hoover. there's an influence of native cultures, nonamerican cultures, but also native american cultures and influencing the architecture of the house. you can see there's design for the arches above the doorway and that was changed. there were a lot of archers in the house as well. what we have here are some floor plans of the house. showed details of the room. the living room there. the terrace. you can see that the rooms are designed in a way where they easily exit out into the outside, the outdoors. it's a great legacy of lou henry's, because she designed the house. she created it. she was inspired and she had close involvement in all aspects of the house's creation. >> the hoover's connection with the stanford campus deepened and broadened over the years. the major part of the campus here. was it endowed by the hoovers or does it build up with a lot of contributions over time. >> i'm not sure about the hoover institution. i know when lou was still alive she used her personal funds to build a cultural community and a musical community there. the hoover institute came later possibly after lou passed away and more slofled with what herbert did. >> how about west branch, iowa and the preservation of his roots there. >> yes, west branch is where he was born. and we were actually attempted to purchase the land and the home that he was born in and the family who owned it a that the time was not interested in selling. at some point, they were able to acquire that property. it's now the hoover presidential library with the restoration of the buildings from bert's childhood. >> it was dedicated in 1962. by that time, lou hoover had passed. but herbert hoover, who lived a long life was there for the dedication. we'll show you a clip of that next. >> record of supreme action by the american people. their devotion and sacrifice to
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their ideals. and in these records there are, no doubt, many unfavorable remarks made by our political opponents. as well as the expressions of affection by our friends. we may hope that future students will rely upon our friends for confirmation. [ applause ] >> herbert hoover lived until he feels 90 years old. he set a record for -- >> he was -- until last year, he was the longest -- longest serving ex-president of all time jimmy carter for that last year. >> two moderate presidents lived longer than he. lived into the early 90s surpassing lou hoover's record until that time. tell us about her death. >> she had been physically active as we talked about. riding a horse, camping, sleeping on the ground up until feels 90 years old. he set a record for -- >> he was -- until last year, he was the longest -- longest serving ex-president of all time jimmy carter for that last year. >> two moderate presidents lived longer than he. lived into the early 90s surpassing lou hoover's record until that time. tell us about her death. >> she had been physically active as we talked about. riding a horse, camping, sleeping on the ground up until her late 60s. she had wanted to live in palo alto but herbert found he liked the intellectual stimulation of new york city. they had an east coast-west coast kind of marriage until 1940 when he convinced her to make her base with him there in new york city and they lived in an apartment in waldorf astoria. and she had gone out to dinner with a friend, january of 1944 and started to say let's walk back, such a lovely evening and changed her mind and said let's take a cab. said good-bye to her friend, went upstairs to her apartment. bert was getting ready to go out with a friend of his. he said let me say good-bye to lou, when he went in, she was collapsed and died on the floor of a heart attack. >> timothy of sun city, california, you're on. >> my name is timothy large. i'm the grandson of gene henry large, the sister of lou hoover. and i just wanted to express how
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great it was and how much i appreciate her as well as her husband. and i was born in palo alto and i wanted to express the really good care for their kids, grand kids, and relatives. >> we hope we've done a fair job tonight telling the story of your relatives. thank you for your call. that's a great -- before we go to her legacy, where is she bury? >> buried in palo alto. then they exhumed her body and there was next to bert at west branch. >> when the government opens again and all of the institutions are back, you can go to west branch and visit herbert hoover presidential library there. a question for both of you, since they were a couple who really approached public life together. what should their legacy be? >> i think it is as a first lady, the legacy is the way in which she tried to utilize her role as first lady to make a call to action with the public. she believed in them and kind of duck tailed. you had a legacy in terms of presidential couples for how
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to -- the delicate balance between the political side and increasingly expected to do. i think lou hoover starts along that path. >> take a call from marlin in bismarck, north dakota. i want to hear your answer to that. >> hello. >> hello. >> i was a 6-year-old boy during a campaign of hoover and al smith. and a lot of the biggest things was repealing the 18th amendment. and i grew up in the swedish community in nebraska, all of them conservative, very religious. everybody voted for hoover. also, the market crash in '29, the bank busted at the same time. and i was 7 years old then. and i wanted to go down and collect the money when the banks broke. we -- hoover dam was named for him during the hoover administration, the midwest
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drought started where the storms started all the way from north dakota all the way through nebraska down to oklahoma. >> marlin, thank you. i'm going jump in at that point. because you've given us a good opportunity to ask. ask what should her legacy be and how should we view the hoover administration in hindsight? what's the thesis going to be after writing this biography. >> my thesis is if she had not succeeded in a woman in a position for 13 years, we would remember a lot more of lou hoover now. lou's activism and a lot of her nonpolitical agenda and working with the girl scouts in 4-h set the stage for future first ladies to have causes and things that they supported that they did not necessarily have to have political repercussions or political connections. as far as remembering them for the depression, i think they were in -- i don't think that they were -- i don't think anybody knew how to handle this. this is the first one as we all what's the thesis going to be know now that lasted as long as it did. and the thing we have to remember is we did not pull out of the depression until we entered world war ii. even after all of the legislation that he was able to get congress to pass, that in and of itself did not allow them
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to improve the economy until things changed rapidly. >> our thanks to our guests on the story of lou henry hoover and the thanks to the white house historical association for their help throughout the series. ♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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